It’s insane this is even a topic worth writing about. All I can say is winless seasons really do bring out some strange feelings.
The Cleveland Browns finished the 2017 without a single victory, and now a few thousand fans are throwing a parade about it. The ceremony isn’t so much a celebration of such a historically inept season, it’s merely fans trying to find some semblance of joy in a campaign so terrible it caused many to question their support of the Browns in general.
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
However, the whole situation has escalated to an alarmingly high level. It’s gotten so insanely intense that the master of ceremonies – a Cleveland fan going by the Twitter handle McNeil (@Reflog_18) – is getting nasty threats from numerous people.
For some reason, those opposed to the concept are vehemently lashing out about it. As a result, this innocent gathering of frustrated fans has become incredibly and unnecessarily divisive.
Personally, I’m relatively indifferent to the whole ordeal. This Browns season was a monumental disaster, so I have no problem with fans trying to elicit some sort of fun out of it.
I’m also beyond overwhelmed by how violently opposed many fans are to the event. To those who have been loudly telling people why we need to be furiously upset about a winless season parade, I pose a simple question.
Seriously, why are we questioning each other’s fan-hood and making inane claims such as noting true fans wouldn’t attend this? This is literally a couple thousand individuals finding a unique way to air their grievances. It’s hardly something worth getting this frustrated about.
Some opposed to the parade are worried about the damage it will do to the city’s reputation. This is fair, but let’s be honest – do you really think this is going to be a national news story?
Make no mistake, it’ll get attention. Still, barring an extremely slow news cycle, don’t expect it to receive much coverage beyond the next week or so. People will provide their takes, some may even be disparaging, but eventually this will be forgotten. We need to stop acting as though this is what the city of Cleveland will be remembered for decades from now.
Yes, there’s some merit to fearing such a thing being added to ESPN’s “misery reel.” Fans have a hard enough time whenever sports networks roll out replays of The Fumble, The Drive or The Shot to remind everyone how miserable Cleveland sports can be. Members of the fan-base adding an item to this by their own doing probably doesn’t sound appealing.
At the same time, let’s stop pretending the sports world would ignore the Browns’ 0-16 record were it not for some parade.
Cleveland’s season was mind-numbingly unwatchable, as the team was out-played and out-coached on a weekly basis. The team then went and gave coach Hue Jackson a vote of confidence despite his only notching one victory in two years. Make no mistake, the Browns are the NFL‘s laughingstock, and it’s certainly not because of some parade.
It’s also worth noting this team, specifically owner Jimmy Haslam, deserves some sort of elaborate showing of frustration.
The Browns have reached a level of failure not seen before in the history of sports, with much of it the result of miserable management from the man running the show. If seeing fans mock the fact Cleveland just completed a catastrophe of a regular season embarrasses Haslam, it’s tough to argue he doesn’t have it coming.
If I’m being honest, there’s another reason I’m attempting to talk down the rage surrounding a harmless parade. Frankly, my biggest concern when it comes to how angry people seem to be about this is someone taking things too far.
Last year, when the concept of the parade initially surfaced, we had members of Cleveland media legitimately threatening violence to anyone who attended. That such an innocent event would cause such reactions is laughable, but also frightening. Unfortunately, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think someone might take such a reaction too far and do something drastic.
It’s out of fear of this occurring that I feel the need to remind everyone what we’re arguing about. This parade is not a black eye to the city of Cleveland. It’s not a gathering of people who shouldn’t be considered “true Browns fans.” And it’s not something to get so angry about it causes you to make violent threats.
It’s a just a damn parade.
If you disagree with it, ignore it. By this time next year, it’s likely those opposed to event are the only ones still talking about it.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook